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A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. Based on a book in Lee Child's crime series.
For more about Jack Reacher and the Jack Reacher Blu-ray release, see Jack Reacher Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Lee Child
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo
» See full cast & crew
Jack Reacher Blu-ray Review
Reach out to this exceptional Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 21, 2013
Who the hell is Jack Reacher?
Jack Reacher may a simply-titled tale of a quasi-mysterious lead procedurally solving a crime and getting his hands a bit dirty along the way, but behind the simple premise, and the even simpler title, is a layered and exceptionally well-constructed movie of the sort that really isn't made all that often, one that's as smart as it is slick, one that's as mentally engaging as it is outwardly entertaining. It's a picture that refuses to give in to too much convention, eschewing a typical blockbuster-fiendly approach for a style that's more substance-based than it is concerned with the raw entertainment value of the material, which only enhances the entertainment value at the end of the day. It's a smart thinking man's sort of film, one with robust and beautifully realized action supporting, not supplanting, a layered plot that unravels in a pure, well-conceived "whodunit and why" premise that's fresh rather than flawed, riveting rather than recycled. Based on the novel One Shot by Lee Child, the ninth in the "Reacher" series, the film adaptation surpasses all expectations and should, hopefully and given this film's success, clear the path for future Reacher installments in the near future.
Five people are gunned down on Pittsburgh's North Shore by distant sniper fire. They are long-distance professional hits carried out by a skilled marksman using an M1A rifle and precision self-loaded ammunition. When Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) pulls a quarter from a parking meter near the site of the shootings with a clear fingerprint on it, he believes he's found the killer. Pittsburgh police arrest an Iraq war veteran named James Barr (Joseph Sikora). It seems like an open-and-shut case when he all but confesses to Emerson and District Attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins), but rather than sign the confessional, he asks to see a man named Jack Reacher, a man Emerson and Rodin quickly learn is something of a ghost, a man living largely off the grid and who was once a decorated military veteran and a renowned investigator. The law doesn't even need to seek him out. Reacher presents himself to Emerson and Rodin and meets Barr's attorney and Rodin's daughter, Helen (Rosamund Pike). Reacher and Helen Rodin agree to team up, he looking into the murderer and she into the seemingly random victims. As their investigation furthers, they stumble upon a web of corruption and lies that extend well beyond the suspect.
Jack Reacher's command of the cinema medium and deep understanding of the subtly dramatic is showcased from the film's opening minutes and carries through right on to the end. The dialogue-free open, paired with deliberate, enticing, and anticipatory opening shots command the audience's attention and create more dramatic upheaval and emotional turmoil than often does a lesser-crafted segment that relies more on manufactured energy and faux drama over precision craftsmanship meshed with simple storytelling techniques. The opening sets the scene for an absorbing picture in which truths are revealed in a deliberate yet very well-paced cadence. One truth yields another, another produces more questions, a question might create an action scenario, and so on until the end. It's a story shaped by a keen dramatic style that keeps viewers guessing and never either ahead of or behind the characters. It's not so much that Screenwriter/Director Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun) makes the audience a participant in the film, but he rather unfolds the story in such a way that it remains even on both sides of the screen, one never in a different place along the story line from the other.
The film's opening act sets the dramatic dynamics for what's to come, dynamics that in lesser films would be considered adequate for the climactic resolution and revelation but that here are both only the beginnings of the story rather than its end. As the story furthers, the intrigue intensifies and the action slowly builds towards several remarkably staged action scenes that, like that effective opening sequence, take on a more cinematically reserved approach -- here without music rather than dialogue -- that actually heightens the anticipation and pure effect rather than diminish them. Whether a fistfight midway through between Reacher and two bumbling thugs in a confined space, an almost surreal car chase that rivals anything in Drive from a structural effectiveness perspective, or the climactic shootout that chillingly pulls the audience into the middle of a deadly firefight that shows the effectiveness of focused, hard-hitting realism in Action cinema, Jack Reacher often entrances its audience with its sublimely executed action, the perfect compliment to the film's nail-biting story and deliberate unraveling thereof.
Jack Reacher's blend of quality story and precise technical construction are accentuated by a fantastic lead performance from Tom Cruise. Although not the ideal physical manifestation of Jack Reacher based on the character's written description, Cruise does find the inner Reacher wonderfully, playing the part cooly and effectively with a strikingly efficient outward capability and inward mental prowess. Cruise's verbal quips and quick, on-his-feet thinking manifest naturally, defining the character perhaps even more thoroughly than the fisticuffs and gunplay. Reacher is a different animal than Cruise's Ethan Hunt, not quite so physically gifted as the actor's hallmark multi-film character but certainly someone capable of holding his own in a fight. Reacher is less a superman and more a well-rounded individual, gifted with powers of deduction, insight, quick-thinking, and capable physical stamina. It makes the character more approachable, and Christopher McQuarrie has built the film around the character's strengths rather than make him into some larger-than-life figure that would only yield cheap thrills and a subpar story. The character meshes perfectly with the film's adherence to realism and subtlety. Where the Mission: Impossible films may be more purely Hollywood, Jack Reacher works towards building a more realistic, this-could-happen sort of feel that's very much welcome in this age of cinema-in-overdrive.
Jack Reacher Blu-ray, Video Quality
Paramount's new release films are usually as pristine as the format allows, and Jack Reacher is no exception. The high definition transfer reveals a gorgeous film-ike texture. Light grain remains over the entirety of the film, gently helping to accentuate details and preserve that sought-after cinematic flavor. Details are unsurprisingly spectacular. The image is very clean and naturally sharp, resulting in facial and clothing textures that are as crisply defined as any other 35mm release on the Blu-ray medium. Impeccable definition remains even in long-distance shots. There's nary a shot throughout that's not perfectly clear and visually robust. Colors are perfect, revealing every nuance across the entire palette, offering a lifelike brilliance in brighter scenes and a sense of accuracy in darker scenes. Black levels are consistently pure, deep and accurate and never even lightly bright, purple, or gray. Flesh tones, too, never come up lacking. No surprise, the print is flawless, showing not a trace of wear, and there's no evidence of unwanted digital tinkering or artifacts. In short, this is Blu-ray perfection and a fine example of how fantastic new filmed material can look for home consumption.
Jack Reacher Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Jack Reacher features a wonderful DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack that's amongst the most precise and exciting on the market. The picture begins with a clear, well-defined, robust, and naturally spaced musical presentation that's seamlessly real, the sort that melts away the speakers and that, if one were to shut his or her eyes, might trick the mind into believing the orchestra is in the room. Such balance and clarity remains through the rest of the film. Before the shooting at the beginning, listeners are treated to a very well-engineered sound effect in which the shooter's controlled breathing flows out of the back channels as he gazes through his riflescope, effectively putting the viewer behind the trigger and simulating the sensation of peering through the magnified lens at the targets. The gunshots ring out powerfully and authentically, as they do for the rest of the movie. The end shootout in particular is a thing of sonic marvel, a reference-level sequence if ever there was one. Gunfire, without the interference of music, excess dialogue, loud screaming, or other surrounding sound effects, almost literally tears through the stage. Each shot hits hard, whether from the heavy caliber M1A or the smaller caliber full auto weapons. The entire stage becomes the quarry, and from every speaker flows potent, realistic shots that hit hard and naturally reverberate around the location and, by extension, the soundstage. The car chase sequence from earlier in the picture is just as sonically intense. The revving engine fills the stage with amazing power and precision, and the crashes and squealing tires and all of the other elements play in perfect harmony and with faultless spacing. The track also handles lesser elements wonderfully. Light city ambience, background music at a crowded bar, or light sounds of nature out in the middle of nowhere at the shooting range bring the film's various locations to life. Dialogue is accurate and smooth, flowing evenly from the center channel. This is a fantastic soundtrack, one of the year's finest, and easily one of the best ever on a Blu-ray release.
Jack Reacher Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Jack Reacher contains a healthy assortment of extras, including two commentary tracks (or, really, one commentary track and one half commentary/half isolated score track) and a lengthy making-of.
Jack Reacher Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Jack Reacher might not, from a distance, look like a movie worthy of abundant praise, but it's an extraordinarily well-done film in every regard. The source material is great, yielding a plot that never settles into a routine and keeps the audience and the characters guessing and deducing in tandem. The picture is structurally sublime, and the absence of score in key action sequences only heightens the intensity and realism rather than subtract from them. Tom Cruise is terrific, as is his supporting cast, making Jack Reacher one of the best blockbusters of 2012. Paramount's Blu-ray contains a good amount of extra content to support flawless video and audio. Very highly recommended and a candidate to appear on the year-end "best of" Blu-ray list.
Jack Reacher: Other Editions
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Jack Reacher Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, May 6-12: Jack Reacher Investigates the Top Blu-ra... - May 16, 2013
For the week that ended on May 12th, Paramount Media Home Distribution's Jack Reacher debuted at number one on the Blu-ray-only media list. Engineered as a new action franchise for star Tom Cruise, the film received more attention as a result of its depictions ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: May 7-14 - May 5, 2013
For the week of May 7th, Paramount Home Media Entertainment is bringing Jack Reacher to Blu-ray. The film is actually an adaptation of Lee Child's novel One Shot, and fans took great exception with director Chris McQuarrie's decision to cast Tom Cruise as the ...
• Paramount "Hands On" Jack Reacher competition -- Los Angeles: May... - May 4, 2013
Los Angeles-area fans have an opportunity to win a 1971 Chevelle SS Clone, just like the one seen in the hit film Jack Reacher. The winner will have to keep his or her hands on the car longer than any other contestant to speed off with this highly desirable ...
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